Corona Chronicles: World Athletics Champs to 2022

Also: Dates for Chengdu 2021 change slightly; ITTF EB decisions; Iconic soccer stadiums enlisted for COVID-19 battle.

(ATR) World Athletics supports the new dates for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics despite the headaches it’s causing for the federation’s marquee event.

The Summer Games are now scheduled to run from July 23 to August 8 of next year, which would conflict with the World Athletics Championships in Oregon in the United States.

World Athletics, however, says it is working with the organizers on new dates in 2022 that will also not interfere with the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England from July 27-August 7 and the European Championships, scheduled for Munich from August 11-21.

The weather in Eugene, Oregon, where the next world championships is to be held, would be suitable to hold the event in September or early October.

Dates for Chengdu 2021 Change Slightly

The 2021 FISU Summer World University Games in Chengdu, China will remain in August despite the decision on Monday to postpone Tokyo 2020 by a year to July of 2021.

FISU did approve a slight alteration to the dates for the event following a request by the local organizers. Chengdu 2021 will now run from August 18-29 rather than August 16-27.

"2021 promises to be a great Summer of international multisport competition of the very highest level," said FISU President Oleg Matytsin. "Many Olympians are also World University Games participants, and they now have the opportunity to prepare for two major multisport competitions in Asia in the same timeframe."

FISU says that maintaining a Summer 2021 timing for Chengdu 2021 will ensure student athletes face no eligibility challenges, while also enabling National University Student Federations to maintain their operational and financial plans for the World University Games.

"By confirming these revised dates today, FISU is happy to contribute a measure of certainty for student athletes and National University Sports Federations, as they continue to deal with the uncertainty and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic," Matytsin said.

The 31st Summer World University Games are expected to draw over 10,000 student-athletes and officials from more than 150 countries for 11 days of competition. The event comprises 269 medal events across 18 sports disciplines and includes the three optional sports of rowing, shooting sport and Wushu.

ITTF Executive Board Decisions

The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) executive committee makes further changes to the event schedule due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Meeting on Sunday, the panel decided to suspend all planned ITTF events and activities that require international travel until June 30, 2020. New dates for the Hana Bank 2020 World Team Table Tennis Championships will be announced in the coming week.

It was decided that ITTF ranking lists would be frozen as of March 2020 with any needed adjustments for postponed events, travel restrictions and other complications to be further evaluated. Adjusting qualification for the delayed Tokyo Olympics will also be worked on at a later date.

Finally, the Executive Committee agreed to reduce their expenses with senior staff offering to take a salary reduction as the ITTF looks into other areas to save on overall costs.

Another meeting will be held on April 15 to further evaluate the situation.

Bernabeu, Maracana Enlisted in Coronavirus Battle

Two of soccer’s iconic stadiums are being used in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

The Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid is being used as a makeshift storage facility while the Maracana sports complex in Rio de Janeiro, which includes the famous stadium, has been turned into a temporary hospital.

Real Madrid, the soccer club which calls the Bernabeu home, says the stadium will be used to store donations including the ones made through the club’s charitable foundation.

The Maracana stadium, inaugurated for the 1950 FIFA World Cup, was more recently the venue for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Final and the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2016 Olympic Games. Two other stadiums, one in Sao Paulo and the other in Brasilia, are also being converted into health centers.

Corona Strikes Salt Lake 2002 Chair

Bob Garff, who served as chair of SLOC, the Salt Lake City 2002 organizing committee, died from the corona virus March 29. He was 77.

A businessman who owned automotive dealerships in Utah and other states, Garff went into politics and became speaker of the house in the Utah legislature in the late 1980’s.

In 1999 he stepped in to become chairman of SLOC, when predecessor Frank Joklik resigned in the midst of the IOC vote buying scandal. Garff led the board through the aftermath of the scandal.

The hiring of Mitt Romney as CEO was one of Garff’s first big decisions.

"Bob’s contributions to our state, to our economy, and to our church will be heralded by many," Romney, now a U.S. Senator from Utah said in a statement.

"But for me, it was his sound and principled leadership as the Chairman of the Olympic Winter Games of 2002 that is most compelling. The scandal that surrounded the Games could have overwhelmed our collective commitment, but Bob’s genuine goodness, clear-eyed optimism, and can-do management experience helped to reignite our confidence and community spirit," said Romney.

Garff and his wife came down with the corona virus shortly after returning from a trip to California two weeks ago. She is still being treated for the illness.

Written by Gerard Farek and Ed Hula

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